So yesterday was a pretty typical Friday... other than I had the rare pleasure of chatting with an MTV producer about an upcoming episode of True Life! Random, huh? She found me through my blog so before I knew what the scoop was, I was pretty certain it had something to do with our infertility journey. Sure enough, MTV is casting for a future episode of their documentary series, True Life, focusing on young adults struggling with infertility. AWESOME!
Obviously, I'm too much of an old fart to be on the show, and well... I've got my prize (Sam!). They are currently looking for people in the midst of their battle who are willing to share their journey. This entails having cameras capture doctor visits and all that jazz... there is no hiding. Because you know, it's on TV. As in the whole world can see it. And your spouse/partner needs to be a willing participant too - they are very interested in documenting how infertility affects relationships.
Before I give the specifics of what MTV is after in terms of casting, I first want to say this has the potential to create amazing strides toward infertility awareness. I am super excited about this and so honored that the producers genuinely wanted to hear my thoughts and opinions on the subject. I was asked what I struggled with most. Obviously everyone's journey is different. I told her for me, it was an emotional battle more than anything. A battle over my heart. I struggled to find my place in the world... watching all our friends start and grow their own families while we were sitting in a perpetual state of childlessness. To protect my heart, I armed myself with God's word and prayer. And leaned heavily on my husband and held hands with dear sisters who were walking the same path. Some days were peaceful. Others weren't.
I told the producer my advice to those going through this mess... reach out and find those few friends who have been down this road. Infertility is one of those struggles that can't be fully understood unless you've "been there." Love and support from family and friends is invaluable, but you NEED those sisters to walk along side you. Even if you're keeping your journey private, find a friend or two with whom you can be real.
And for those outside of this, for those looking to support friends and family who are battling this... educate yourself. Find out what all that silly infertility lingo means and show a genuine interest in what your friends are facing. Instead of saying, "Have you tried...?", simply say, "Keep trying." In the six years it took us to bring Sam home, those are the two best words I heard anyone on the outside say... keep trying.
Now! On to the specifics. If you're not familiar with MTV's True Life series, I encourage you to hop on their site and peruse through some past episodes. It is a true documentary with each episode focusing on a different struggle and highlighting two to three young people facing those struggles. Given MTV's demographics, they are obviously looking for participants of a younger age. So that's really the only "gotcha" here... cast members have to be 29 or younger. Which for infertility is a bit harder given that the majority of adults going in and out of fertility clinics are in their 30's and 40's. But there are certainly many out there getting an early start! I definitely know friends who got aggressive with treatments in their mid-20's. So here is the skinny...
AWARD WINNING MTV DOCUMENTARY SERIES--TRUE LIFE
TRUE LIFE: I'M HAVING FERTILITY ISSUES
Have you always wanted to have a baby and are finding out that getting pregnant isn't as easy as it seems? Have you been trying for months -- or even years -- to get pregnant without success? Have you or your partner been diagnosed with a condition that makes it difficult to conceive naturally and plan to seek help from a fertility clinic? Are you so consumed with having a baby that you'll stop at nothing to have your own? If so, is your partner right there with you? Or is he or she reluctant to spend the money and energy it would take to conceive through high tech means? Are your fertility issues causing problems with your relationship? Has trying to have a baby left you emotionally, physically, and financially drained? Do you have a pre-existing health condition where being pregnant could be dangerous for you and your baby, but you're determined to beat the odds?
If you appear to be the ages of 18-29 and you're CURRENTLY struggling with fertility issues, please email us:
-------->> MTVInfertile@mtv.com <<-----------
Please include your name, story, location, PHONE NUMBER, and photograph if possible. Please remember to include your PHONE NUMBER.
Since its first episode in 1998, True Life has provided a window into the struggles, hopes, and dreams of young people. Narrated solely by its characters, each episode documents the unusual--and often remarkable--circumstances of real individuals, whether it's about soldiers returning from Iraq, deaf teenagers, or people living with autism. We've given all of them--and hundreds of others--the opportunity to tell their own stories directly to their peers in this powerful series that uniquely reflects the experiences and cultures of this generation.
Also please note that you have to be in the US to qualify. And certainly, there is NO pressure for a cast member to get pregnant through this process. This is meant to be a REAL look at this struggle. And as we all know, there are not always happy endings. They simply want to document the journey. I would love it if you would repost or tweet this post... MTV is looking to wrap up casting in the next two weeks, so this is an immediate need. As I said, this has the potential to be really great. The producers already have great orgs like Resolve in the loop, so they are now depending heavily on social media to get the word out and find a great cast. After speaking with the producer, it was clear that they really want to get this right. Thanks, all! Can't wait to see this play out.